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Jeremy J. Wolk

Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP

Years in current role: 15

What has been your biggest success over the past year?

I recently advised a renowned producer and marketer of beer, wine, and spirits in its strategic alliance with a multinational soft beverage corporation. Both parties are vigilant with respect to their intellectual property assets (including their well-known brands), so the transaction involved intricate cross-licenses, monetization considerations, and IP ownership allocations. The alliance will result in a distinctive line of spirit-based, ready-to-drink cocktails.

What are your expectations for the rest of this year?

The break-neck pace of mergers and acquisitions in the IP space during 2021 was not expected to be sustainable. The current forces creating market uncertainty have been and will likely continue to serve as headwinds for transactions. However, there remains notable capital available for both corporate and private equity to fund deals. I expect IP transactions to continue at a reduced but still good clip, as they are often premised on strategic growth initiatives, compulsory licenses for core components, or the realization of efficiencies with cost centers, which often continue regardless of the state of the economy.

What advice would you give someone starting an intellectual property practice right now?

Technology is one of the few things that move faster than a New York minute. In the span of a relatively short time, we have had the creation and adoption of such technologies as the Internet, mobile devices, 3D printing, and social media, to name a few. While in proximate view are the evolution of artificial intelligence, robotic fulfillment systems, and “smart” everything. Each new development stretches core IP principles and requires application to technologies that were often not contemplated when statutorily enacted or judicially decided. This is what makes an IP practice exciting. However, those entering this area need to be prepared to incessantly evolve at the speed of technology and become fluent in “Technologese” to skillfully advise clients.

If you could practice one area of law that you haven’t practiced in your career, what would it be and why?

Civil rights law, especially at this moment in time. A civil rights practice aims to balance competing interests between government institutions on the one hand and individuals or groups of individuals on the other. The influence of legal advocacy in this area — particularly in challenging times such as 1964, 1968, and 1973 — is undeniable. Recent times have emphasized a renewed need for such advocacy.

What is one personal goal you have for the next year?

In the prophetic words of the famous sage Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Living through the COVID-19 pandemic over the past years has been challenging, but also enlightening. My goal is to find ways to maintain some semblance of the personal weighting in my personal and professional balance.